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Canon SX10 vs Nikon D50

The Canon PowerShot SX10 IS and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2008 and April 2005. The SX10 is a fixed lens compact, while the D50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX10) and an APS-C (D50) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX10 versus Nikon D50
Canon SX10 Nikon D50
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
480/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 130k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.7 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
123 x 88 x 87 mm, 600 g 133 x 102 x 76 mm, 620 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS and the Nikon D50? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX10 and the Nikon D50. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX10 vs Nikon D50
Compare SX10 versus D50 top
Comparison SX10 or D50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D50 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Canon SX10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX10 nor the D50 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX10 has a lens built in, whereas the D50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D50 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX10 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Sep 2008 399i
2.
 
Nikon D50 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX70 5.0 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 21.4 oz 325 n Sep 2018 549 i
5.
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon SX40 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 380 n Sep 2011 429i
8.
 
Canon SX30 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 370 n Sep 2010 429i
9.
 
Canon SX20 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Aug 2009 399i
10.
 
Canon SX1 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.5 in 21.7 oz .. n Sep 2008 599i
11.
 
Canon XS 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Nikon B600 4.8 in 3.2 in 3.9 in 17.6 oz 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon D60 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Nikon D70s 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX10 was launched at a lower price than the D50, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX10 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D50 is 1221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX10 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D50 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX10 and Nikon D50 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX10 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D50. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.67μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the SX10 is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the D50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D50 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX10 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

SX10 versus D50 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
2.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
8.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
9.
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
11.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
12.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
13.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
14.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
15.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
16.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX10 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX10 can use is 480/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX10 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the D50 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX10 and Nikon D50 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX10202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX702360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX30202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
11.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

The SX10 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D50 uses SD cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX70-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
11.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---

Both the SX10 and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the SX10 was followed by the Canon SX20. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX10 better than the Nikon D50 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 6MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 480/30p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 130k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x88mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D50).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D50:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX10 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX10 13:10 D50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX10 and the Nikon D50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX10 and the D50 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX10..+ +....4/5 Sep 2008 399i
2.
 
Nikon D50..78/100+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX70..+ +..3.5/53.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i
5.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
8.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +..3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
9.
 
Canon SX20..+ +73/100..4/5 Aug 2009 399i
10.
 
Canon SX1..+ ++..3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
11.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
14.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
15.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Nikon D70s........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
17.
 
Nikon D70....+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX10:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D50:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX10 vs Nikon D50

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2008 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.67 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 35.55 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 480/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 560
    Screen Specs Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.7 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX10 Nikon D50
    Battery Type 4xAA EN-EL3
    Body Dimensions 123 x 88 x 87 mm
    (4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
    133 x 102 x 76 mm
    (5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 600 g (21.2 oz) 620 g (21.9 oz)

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